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Finley Robinson

Family Friday: Try Counting By States

published13 days ago
3 min read

Hi there, it's Finley 👋🏼 and Happy Friday.

Today's story takes 2.5 minutes to read.

Partnership: Blake Brewer has a powerful story about losing his dad at the age of 19. Now he's helping parents everywhere, by teaching them how to write their own Legacy Letter. You can check out his weekly webinar here or enroll in the course.


Clear & Kind

If I had to suggest one under-appreciated quality that your kids will always love from you as a parent, it would be this...

Be clear with your kids.

The reason clarity is so valuable to a child is that it provides them with connection and security.

Each of your children benefits from clear parents in some way, no matter their age or personality.

Your kids have endless questions and concerns while life moves at a breakneck pace. Being clear with them every chance you get helps them feel safe and stable.

Clear praise.
Clear feelings.
Clear discipline.
Clear timetables.
Clear instructions.
Clear expectations.

When fighting for clear words, you may feel internal friction, but they will feel protected.

To the mind of a child, being clear can be very simple.

Take for instance the family road trip. We took a lot of them with our kids over the years.

We went on 3hr trips, 6hr trips, 12hr trips, and a couple of 20hr trips.

We traveled west to Colorado and Utah, and east to Tennessee and Georgia. Our most frequent and favorite trip though, was when we went south to Florida.

Every parent knows how their kids are when they travel. Time and boredom become villains. They ask the famous questions: "are we there yet?" and "how much looooooonger?"

I wanted to be clear with our kids, but I didn't want to be a stopwatch either.

So I invented a new method of road trip timekeeping that was kid sized but still clear.

We counted by states. Our Florida trip would place us in 5 different states from start to finish. Counting down 13 hours is no fun. Checking off 5 states is easier for a child to grasp.

Every time we left a state was a celebration. We were one closer to Florida.

My sister has a saying (that I'm sure she heard from Brené Brown or someone) that goes like this:

Being clear is a kindness we give to others.

Here is why choosing to be clear to our kids is kind.

  • It naturally puts your words into a proper tone to receive.
  • It forces you to pick helpful words, which requires slowing down.
  • It means you speak on an appropriate level for their age and stage.
  • It helps them deal with the anxiety of the unknown.
  • It invites them to share their thoughts and opinions also.
  • It includes them in the bigger picture of your life and family.

How will you know if you're being clear? Usually, you can tell by the look on their face. Do they have a mental understanding of what you are staying or are they still confused?

They may have big positive or negative emotions next, which you then address. But being clear is your best foundation and place to start when talking through life with your kids.

This isn't about speaking from a place of power and authority. It invites them into your mind and your reasoning.

Be clear when you talk with your kids as often as you can.

  • When you make your daily plans.
  • When it's time to leave in 20 minutes.
  • When you decide to eat at home vs going out.
  • When you feel personally stressed, tell them why.
  • When their behavior has been bad, be clear in what way.

Being clear is a kindness we give to kids, so deliver it often.

Do you struggle to be a clear parent with your kids?
What gets in the way?

I'd love to hear so please feel free to write me back and let me know.



Atomic Habits: Parenting

James Clear

"One of the best ways to motivate your children to act a certain way is to act that way yourself.

Humans are master imitators. As I cover in Chapter 10 of Atomic Habits, we imitate three groups: (1) the close, (2) the many, and (3) the powerful.

In children’s eyes, parents are both close and powerful (authority figures), so they often mimic the habits and routines of their parents.

This is especially true for young children, who look to their parents for insights on how to engage with the world and solve problems.

As a result, your habits often become your children’s habits. Hold yourself to a higher standard, and they will often follow suit."


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We're Better Together

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Family Friday Newsletter?

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